COLUMBUS, Ohio --
Defenseman Grant Clitsome
came off the ice following an hour-long practice Monday with the Columbus Blue Jackets
to learn he was in the wrong uniform.
He now is a member of the Winnipeg Jets
after being claimed on waivers, and he couldn't hide that he is excited about the late-season change of uniforms.
Just like that, he is moving from a team that effectively has been out of playoff contention for weeks to one that is currently in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Suddenly, the postseason is a realistic possibility.
"In a day or two looking back on it, I'm sure there will be some emotion, but I think right now I'm kind of caught up in the excitement and the atmosphere," Clitsome said. "I'm excited. They're in a playoff push and they've got a great team, so it's going to be exciting times."
Columbus is 18-37-7 and has 11 fewer points than any other team in the League, while Winnipeg is 30-26-8 and only two points behind Southeast Division-leading Florida and third place in the Eastern Conference.
The move followed an emotional 48 hours for Clitsome after he was placed on waivers, his future very much uncertain. He acknowledged, "It felt strange." Now that he knows where he's going, he can't help but be enthused.
"It's my first time being put on waivers so I wasn't sure what to expect. It's kind of bittersweet. I developed a lot of relationships here and friendships," Clitsome said. "The organization has put a lot of time into developing me as a player and I thank them for the opportunity they gave me. On the flip side of that, I'm really excited to go to an organization like Winnipeg."
Clitsome, 26, has 4 goals and 10 assists and is a minus-6 in 51 games this season. In 93 NHL games spread across three seasons, he has 9 goals and 36 points.